I wanted to introduce you all to Mary Yates (standing in the middle in the photo above). Mary and her husband Malcolm are from the Bristol region of southern England, but Mary has left part of her heart here in Honduras! Since 2000, when Mary first came down to Honduras on a missions trip, she has felt called to make a difference in the lives of street kids in this country.
Mary started a foundation, called Friends of El Hogar (www.foeh.org.uk), and part of the funds that Mary raises are donated to the Micah Project. What is really wonderful about Mary's efforts, though, is the way that she uses her talents for God's glory! As a classically trained musician, Mary organizes several concerts a year so that she can continue to raise funds for the children of Honduras. This year, she has ten concerts planned. The first one was on April 19th, and featured music from Handel, Mozart and Pergolesi. It was a great success!
One of the things I love about Mary is the way she views the world. Every aspect of God's creation is a source of wonder to her. On her last trip to Honduras, I took her to visit Zamorano University (she was instrumental in helping our Zamorano grad Darwin Pavon set up his internship in Bristol last year). I think Mary could have spent days observing all of the trees and beautiful flowers on Zamorano's park-like campus! She truly lives life with her eyes wide open.
Mary is one example of how God puts a burden on someone's heart to help the suffering children of Honduras. Instead of letting that burden rest in her heart, however, she has used her tremendous gifts to create action. That, in turn, is creating hope in the lives of many children here in Honduras!
Thanks, Mary! And thanks to all of you who have given your time and resources to build God's kingdom in these young lives.
Su hermano en Cristo,
Friday, April 25, 2008
Monday, April 21, 2008
Jessica here... I'm writing a quick blog entry to ask for everyone's prayers. As the economy of The United States has taken a drop so have the donations for The Micah Project. I have been amazed and humbled watching how God always provides for us and I know He will continue. He knows our needs and will provide and so I ask you to be in prayer for the Project. Financially we are struggling and to give you a bit of an idea... last year-to-date we had $139,709 donated to the project and this year-to-date $27,730. That is a pretty big difference. I also believe in letting people know where we stand financially so you can pray for this project financially. We covet your prayers and trust God to provide for everything we need.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Well, nobody at the Micah House got that much sleep last night. That's because the night before last, an intruder shimmied up the street lamp next to the house and got onto our second story terrace at 12:24 a.m. The unknown thief proceeded to spend almost an hour and a half moving around the Micah House, bundling up CDs, clothing and even a bicycle and sending them over the terrace wall to the street below. We know about this person's movements not because any of us encountered him...no, all 12 of us, including our dalmatian Cheetah, slept soundly as he moved from room to room pillaging our house.
We know what he did because our new system of security cameras has a playback feature. So...when we finally found the time on the surveillance tape that he carefully stepped from the lightpost over our razorwire and onto the patio, we were able to watch all of his movements on recorded tape. Unfortunately, since all the lights were turned out, the images on the tape were even more horrifying...he was just a shadow moving in and out of the light of the street lamp, with only an occasional detail, such as his stocking cap, coming into focus.
The brazenness of his crime was also horrifying. He went into a couple of our boys' bedrooms, removing things from their tables and placing them on the floor in search for valuables. When he brought his loot back to the terrace, he took his time in folding the clothes he had stolen into nice, neat bundles. These two facts tell me that he was probably armed, since he had no fear of any possible encounter. Because of this, I thank God that none of our boys did wake up and provoke a possibly violent encounter.
So...you can understand why we were all on edge as dusk moved towards nightfall last night, and we all faced the prospect of falling to sleep without the sense of safety and security that we usually took for granted. Reactions to the intrusion were mixed, depending on our boys' personalities. Wilmer and Cristofer decided to take matters into their own hands, having recently seen the movie "Home Alone". They gathered up about 20 banana peels and spread them over the terrace at the point that the thief entered, sure that, upon entering again, he would slip on a peel and suffer a massive head injury. For added measure, they spread a liquid detergent all over the terrace to make it as slippery as possible. I think they were actually disappointed this morning when no one broke in and they couldn't put their booby-trap to the test. (I've attached a picture taken this morning with Wilmer, Cristofer and their banana peels...with the offending light post in the background).
One of our other boys suffers from very real and frequent night terrors. You'd think that, with the trauma of our guys' past lives, that would be even more frequent than it is. Well, how do you explain away the bogey-man to a frightened boy when you've got lots of footage of him on candid camera? This one stayed close to me all evening long, not venturing very far way.
Before bed, I got all of the guys together for an evening devotional. I talked them through fear, letting them know that it was natural to be afraid, but that we, as Christians, have a greater hope. I shared Luke 12:4 "...do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more" and a good section of Romans 8: "If God is for us, who can be against us?" We reflected on the fact that, as Christians, while our bodies may face danger, our souls are locked away safe and sound, waiting for their entrance into God's eternal household. We ended our devotional time by singing a song in Spanish based on Psalm 121, which is all about the Lord's protection.
I think the guys felt better after our time of reflection and prayer. Even so, we left all the lights on in the house. When I went to check on the rooms, Jeferson was earnestly reading his Bible on his bottom bunk; it wasn't hard to discern the anxiety on his face.
So...though I dozed off and on, I pretty much stared at the surveillance monitor until 3:30 in the morning. Sometimes, it can be a heavy thing to have 12 young lives depending on you. I gave my own anxieties up to God whenever they floated their little tendrils of fear into my heart. I just kept remembering, in the words of Psalm 121 "He will not let your foot slip--he who watches over you will not slumber..."
We ask for your continued prayers for safety. In the last month, our cars have been broken into twice, once in front of the Micah House and once two blocks away, and now our house has been breeched. We appreciate your prayers for God's protection!
Su hermano en Cristo,
Sunday, April 13, 2008
1. Continue to pray for Wilmer and Marvin as they make daily decisions to walk away from their addiction to the streets and to yellow glue. Wilmer was on the streets the entire week before last…we had gone to the airport to drop off one of our volunteers, when we gave us the slip while going to use the bathroom in the terminal. Dan and the boys found him on their way to church last Sunday, and he immediately reentered the Micah House as if nothing had happened. I admit that we’ve been scratching our head regarding how to get him to realize that life at Micah is so much better for him than life on the streets. His decision-making ability is almost zero…he grew up living a life of impulses. Please pray that God would free his mind and body from the destructive power of yellow glue!
2. Pray for the boy pictured with me above, Jose Daniel. Our street team, headed by Dan Paul, has been spending time with this street boy several days a week in the market district of Tegucigalpa. Many people have begun to pray that Jose Daniel would one day give up life on the streets and join the Micah Project. He is a smart kid and seems to be a good fit for the project. One thing, though, keeps Jose Daniel on the streets: yellow glue. Pray that God would change this kid’s heart and give him the desire to begin a new life! (Dan featured Jose Daniel in a video about our street ministry: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXzN90tWjG8 ).
3. Continue to pray for Erick. Many people have been praying for Erick, especially on Tuesdays which we have dedicated as a special prayer time for him. He continues to live in Villa Linda Miller, consuming drugs or alcohol on a daily basis. I talked with him on the phone for a while yesterday. It’s almost like talking to two Ericks: one that desperately wants help and wants his life to go back to the way it was before his downward spiral into drugs last year; and the other, who can only see his way forward to his next hit. We still pray for him with confidence, while we are saddened by what the daily abuse is doing to him.
4. Pray for Juan Carlos, Miguel and Jarvin, who are on a missions’ trip to the northern region of Honduras called Yoro. They will be translating for a medical mission’s brigade all week. Pray that God’s light would shine out of them in all that they do this week! (Juan Carlos is pictured above).
5. Pray for Tino, Oscar and Marvin in St. Louis and Olvin in Houston as they finish up their spring semesters at their respective universities. Pray that God would continue to be real to them in all that they do…on a daily basis.
Friday, April 4, 2008
Tony has been a friend of the Micah Project for a long time. Several years ago, when he began have serious troubles with his father, who lives in the Villa Linda Miller community, several Micah guys "adopted" Tony. He spent many weekends at the project and especially enjoyed playing soccer with our guys. (Above: Tony with Micah Project soccer team in 2003...third from left in bottom row; second pictures Tony with Karen in 2008).
Then, almsot three years ago, Tony had an accident that would alter the course of his life forever. While swimming in a creek near Villa Linda Miller, this athletic teen decided to attempt a head-first dive. He smashed into a rock, crushing several vertabrae in his back and permanently damaging his spinal chord. Tony would spend weeks in the public hospital in Tegucigalpa, clinging to life. When he finally left the hospital, he was a 17 year old looking at the rest of his life as a paraplegic.
Tony moved back in with his dad and step-mom, but life became pretty miserable. Since they both worked during the day, they locked Tony into the house by himself, with no way to feed himself or change his colostomy bag. When one visiting doctor looked at his bedsores, he only gave Tony a few months to live. Finally, when things got unbearable, Tony's mom allowed him to move in with her at her home in a little village about 45 minutes from Tegucigalpa.
That arrangement seemed to work pretty well, until another tragedy occurred. When Tony's mom was busy changing him one day, his three year old stepsister fell into a water cistern in their backyard and drowned. Her death left a huge burden of guilt on Tony, who felt responsible because of how time-consuming his needs were. His mom felt that she could no longer continue to live in that house because of the memories of her daughter's death.
Finally, we made the decision to move Tony and his mom into a home in Villa Linda Miller that we have previously used as office space. We also began to pay a gentleman in Villa Linda Miller to take Tony to therapy at a rehabilitation hospital in Tegucigalpa a couple times a week. Tony has no use of his legs, and while he has good movement of his arms, his hands are still curled up and he has little use of his fingers. Even so, therapy has given him enough mobility to be able to draw, and he has done some amazing pencil drawings.
This year has been an important one for Tony. A group of American volunteers from a program called STEP (based in Pennsylvania) have been helping out since February. We decided that this would be a good year to sign Tony up for classes in a home-schooling curriculum. This now-twenty year old signed up for the seventh grade, and began his studies with the help of the STEP volunteers. We were able to get him a donated laptop, on which he types out all of his classwork while sitting at the kitchen table in their borrowed home. (Above, Karen helps Tony with his Social Studies homework.)
The STEP volunteers have been very impressed with Tony's humble spirit and sweet smile in the midst of great adversity. This past week, they decided that they wanted to get him out of his house (for three years, the only times he has left his house is to go to the rehab hospital). When they asked him where he wanted to go, he said that he wanted to visit the Micah House! All six STEP volunteers brought him by last night for dinner. Tony was as happy as I have seen him since the accident, able to reconnect with his friends at Micah at last.
Since Tony mostly knows our older guys, after dinner, I had him call Marvin Soto (who is studying in St. Louis) and Olvin Funez (who is studying in Houston). Almost as soon as they answered the phone, he proudly told them that he has begun taking classes again! I realized what an important thing his studies are for his sense of well-being. Before this year, he must have felt that his life had just ground to a halt. Taking classes gives him a sense of purpose...something to look forward to and something that creates hope for the future.
I want to thank the six volunteers from the STEP program, who are headed back to the States in a few weeks, for helping to create this hope in Tony's life. Without them, I don't think Tony would have been able to continue his studies this year. I know that they have spent many hours talking with him, which has given him the confidence to open and share his experiences with them.
Please pray that God would give Tony the eyes to see how he can live an abundant life even through his physical strugges!